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In today's Internet climate when people can spread information not only fast but in various ways there is no where for companies to hide when they screw up. This is an article I wrote for the January issue 2009 of Urban Lifestyle Report - New Media.

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  1. 1. 45 Liar liar pants on fire! LINDA PIERRE Location: Stockholm, Sweden Blog: http://lindapierre.tumblr.com/ Picture: ktylerconk It is amazing that we still keep reading about You’ve probably read about the infamous families playing the role of satisfied Walmart customers back in 2006 and the so-called Sony brands trying to lie their way to the top. When PSP fan blog “All I want for Christmas is a PSP” that was exposed as Sony themselves. You might think that more than 2 years later will they ever learn that you can’t lie and get these two examples may have discouraged brands to try and fool their customers. Unfortunately we still see these type of mistakes away with it any more. The truth always finds being made. The only difference is that today companies know that if its way out somehow, especially in these days they make a mess they have to clean it up in public. The latest brand to be put in the naughty corner is Belkin. One of the when information spreads as fast as a wildfire company’s employees didn’t trust enough in the quality of its products and people are ready to expose the truth to and hired people to write reviews on Amazon, reviews of products they had never used. For every 5 star rating and good comment these the world in heartbeat. people got paid. Not only did he urge you to do this on new products but on old ones as well, so that the products’ former bad reviews would appear less dominant.
  2. 2. 46 People where even told to mark bad reviews as “not helping”. has got a hard time getting? Songsmith only works on PC’s and since you can The request was posted by a man called Michael Bayard. turn your Mac into a PC using for instance Parallels it can actually run on a Mac According to LinkedIn there’s is a man by that name who is as well. But still, it just doesn’t make any sense to me why Microsoft couldn’t use Business Development Representative at Belkin International one of “its own” laptops running their operating systems without middleware. and he works with Belkin sales via Amazon.com. They should have know someone would pick it up and write about it anyhow. Ouch Belkin, this is not looking so good... Belkin’s CEO later There has been a lot of discussions lately both in the Swedish blogosphere said it was “with great surprise and dismay when [they] and mainstream media about the Swedish writer Liza Marklund and her most discovered that one of [their] employees may have famous book “Hidden”. When the degree of truth was questioned for her posted a number of queries on the Amazon Mechanical book that is supposed to be “a true story” she chose not to answer Turk website inviting users to post positive reviews the accusations right away but to keep a low profile. If you google of Belkin products in exchange for payment”. He her name a few weeks after the “blogger riots” began, lots of also said that they have “the highest standards angry voices from the blogosphere appear on the first page. of corporate ethics” and do not accept this The same thing happened to the Swedish company Hewal type of behaviour from their employees. a few weeks earlier. Instead of trying to answer a very I must say they did act rather quickly, upset customer they chose to try to sue him and make only two days after the first blog post him take down the blog post he had written. This appeared which by the way happened of course only made things even worse and Hewal to be on a weekend. They also removed got a mob of angry bloggers attacking them. all reviews related to the link this Bayard character had put up on the help site Once again people have proved that companies Amazon Mechanical Turk. This has turned can’t fool or treat us badly any more. If we don’t into quite a mess though and I my eyes it like it, we will say it. That is kind of scary for a lot of wasn’t even a clever attempt to fool us but, executives, I know. But put your self into the shoes actually a really stupid move. Not only the hole of the consumers. Why should we keep our mouth idea to try to fool consumers but also in regards closed when there are so many ways to speak the to the execution of the plan. truth, and to do so in public? No there is no way back from this, now it’s up to you marketers and Microsoft also recently made a quite fool out of brand owners to listen to the consumers instead of themselves. In this promo video for Microsoft’s ignoring them and try to make your products look Songsmith, an application for recording songs, a good behind the mask that is called advertising. girl is featured singing in front of a laptop. Nothing That good old trick won’t work any more. It’s time for strange about that, only that the laptop she is companies to stop fooling themselves that they can using is a Mac covered with flower-stickers. Did sell a product no matter the quality. Ads are only skin the makers behind the video really think that deep and in the long run it’s impossible to hide products people wouldn’t see it was a Mac or was this just that suck, under layers of clever advertising. So be aware, a trick to get some attention Microsoft otherwise Picture: Okko Pyykkö be very aware and don’t try to fool us!